Commishes Approve ‘Settlement Agreement’ With ‘Big Timber’

Remember that little dust-up over the Fee-for-Access thing? Wherein the Grays Harbor County Commissioners held a public hearing on a proposed repeal of Ordinance 412, striking down the sections relating to fee-for-access? Half the population of the Free World packed the commissioner’s conference room for that February 16 hearing. Or maybe it just seemed like it.

Well, wen we last left you on this, the repeal passed on a 2 to 1 vote in order to avoid a legal shoot-out at the Big Timber corral. Commissioners Vickie Raines and Frank Gordon voted Yea on the repeal/amendment. Commissioner Wes Cormier voted Nay. (Here’s some back story, just for fun: County Commissioners Repeal Fee For Access: The Saga Continues.)

Not a lot of happy campers after that.

Here’s the latest installment in the on-going saga. Taking up a Settlement and Release Agreement with all them thar “The Parties” (affectionately and collectively dubbed ‘Big Timber’) was added to the afternoon meeting agenda at this morning’s meeting. Here are the terms (sorry about the shadow):



The settlement agreement was approved this afternoon on a 2 to 1 vote echoing the prior one (February 16).  Commissioner Frank Gordon moved to approve the agreement. Commissioner Raines seconded. Both voted Yes. Commissioner Wes Cormier voted No.

The afternoon business meeting lasted about 16 minutes. The afternoon media Q & A session was up next.

At that session, Cormier explained that he voted “No”on the agreement to be consistent with how he felt about the lawsuit and the ordinance he proposed.

Gordon expressed support for the original intent of the ordinance, but said he voted “Yes” on the settlement and release agreement “for the good of the county financial-wise.”

Raines said she was “not confident the ordinance would hold up in court.” She also said she felt that the duty of presenting it should “lie with the state legislature” and a “block of counties getting together on it” (as opposed to Grays Harbor flying solo). Raines said her vote to approve the settlement agreement had “nothing to do with the premise of the ordinance or what it was trying to accomplish.”

In other action at the county today:

  • Letter to Port of GH RE – County’s 310 Fund
  • A hire request for an Environmental Health Specialist I or II ($3,884-$4,561/mo) was approved. Commissioner Cormier moved to approved the hire as long as no general fund $ is used. Funds will come from within the “environmental health revenue source.” (Let me know if you figure that one out.)
  • Grays Harbor Public Health and Social Services is laying off five people
  • A request to go through the process of advertising and accepting applications for a Community Development Director under Public Services was approved. The job posting closes on March 25. If you’re dying to know more, see:  Community Development Director
  • Travel was approved for four people. The interesting one was for a guy from the Coroner’s Office to attend a Basic Death Investigation Part 2 in Leavenworth. Dare we ask what Part 1 included? (Paid for by WA Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners.)
  • Off-agenda:
    • Rump roast, mushroom gravy, and kidney beans (Kids, don’t try this at home)
    • Chocolate on the beach
    • Chocolate appetizers
    • Grilled white chocolate polenta
    • Chocolate green salad (that sounded a little weird even for me)

All this right before lunch. We really need to work on that pot luck thing.





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